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Two Internships in One Summer

buchanan feature

You might have seen Paige Buchanan, C’22, in an admissions video for Mount St. Mary’s University because she embodies the spirit of the Mount through academic and athletic ability. Originally recruited for track and field, specifically the javelin, she’s no stranger to hard work, dedication and the pursuit of excellence. In a year in which it was difficult to obtain summer internships, Buchanan successfully completed two experiential learning opportunities.

“Mount Fellows (Office of Competitive Fellowship) was originally supporting me to attend a study abroad for fall break in Brazil to better my understanding of emerging markets (BRICS) as I had traveled to Russia fall of 2019,” Buchanan explained. “However, since this trip has been postponed, I decided to pursue another opportunity which would help to enrich my knowledge of international finance.”

In Summer 2020 she completed two internships: as a project management intern working in the Global Technology Division at Prudential and as a research assistant at the Mount with Associate Professor of Economics Alejandro Cañadas, Ph.D.

Prudential Internship

Buchanan's remote internship with Prudential gave her a true sense of what it was like to work internationally, with half her team residing in Ireland. “My team focuses on the business information security for the company,” Buchanan explained. “My position allows me to serve as a liaison between the technical side of the business and the not-so-technical side.” 

Mount Research Internship

Buchanan also completed a virtual summer research internship with Professor Cañadas, studying the effects COVID-19 is having on international finance, particularly environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) factors. This internship was funded through the Office of Competitive Fellowships, 

Her research focused on impact investments to create financial returns while creating a positive impact on society—typically through ESG. “Typically, ESGs are not seen as competitive as their counterparts so companies dedicate small portions of them to their portfolio. However, ESGs have become increasingly popular and will continue to become a major asset class as COVID-19 has proven the necessity to be proactive and contribute to the development of society,” Buchanan said.

From early June to August 14, she worked with Cañadas on numerous projects, including creating efficient and innovative websites, transferring accessibility and ownership rights and creating dashboards using Power BI to create graphs and interactive models.

“Paige is a wonderful student who understands the importance of our core curriculum to provide a better intellectual framework to answer questions in finance and economics,” Cañadas said. “And she has used this framework in her work and done a fantastic job in her research.”

The support and encouragement from Cañadas of Buchanan's research and corporate internship made a lasting positive impact on her. “Dr. Cañadas has been a pleasure to work with and his knowledge of finance surpasses the standard numerical analysis by focusing on the philosophical implications of how society and individuals are affected,” she said. "I was honored and very grateful I got to work with him.”

Learning Outcomes

Buchanan believes her economics and corporate finance classes played a large part in preparing her for the technical understanding of her summer research. She says her philosophy classes helped expand on the topic and the Mount’s interdisciplinary approach allowed her to “think differently” and “connect the dots”—an advantage in her personal and professional development.

Despite the alterations required in everyday life due to the novel coronavirus, Buchanan remains optimistic. “I do have hope. It would be illogical to think that everything will go back to being the same, but that’s life," she said. "The world does not stand still for anyone so all we can do is accept what has happened and adapt to the new standards of living until we find a better solution.”

Her solution is to focus on endurance and become better equipped with the patience and determination she needs to be successful—in all aspects of her life. Right now she hopes to pursue publication with Cañadas and turn their research into a class for the MBA and undergraduate level at the Mount.

“This internship has put a lot into perspective,” she mused. “The world we thought we knew is forever changed and that is scary and encouraging at the same time. I think understanding the importance of the work I studied this summer will allow me to ask better questions and foster growth within myself and those around me with the hope that I can better society in some way, shape or form.”